Introduction Since the legalisation of online gambling in France in 2010, gambling operators must implement responsible gambling measures to prevent excessive gambling practices. However, actually there is no screening procedure for identifying problematic gamblers. Although several studies have already been performed using several data sets from online gambling operators, the authors deplored several methodological and clinical limits that prevent scientifically validating the existence of problematic gambling behaviour. The aim of this study is to develop a model for screening excessive gambling practices based on the gambling behaviours observed on French gambling websites, coupled with a clinical validation.
Methods and analysis The research is divided into three successive stages. All analyses will be performed for each major type of authorised online gambling in France. The first stage aims at defining a typology of users of French authorised gambling websites based on their gambling behaviour. This analysis will be based on data from the Authority for Regulating Online Gambling (ARJEL) and the Française Des Jeux (FDJ). For the second stage aiming at determining a score to predict whether a gambler is problematic or not, we will cross answers from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index with real gambling data. The objective of the third stage is to clinically validate the score previously developed. Results from the screening model will be compared (using sensitivity, specificity, area under the curve, and positive and negative predictive values) with the diagnosis obtained with a telephone clinical interview, including diagnostic criteria for gambling addiction.
Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the local Research Ethics Committee (GNEDS) on 25 March 2015. Results will be presented in national and international conferences, submitted to peer-reviewed journals and will be part of a PhD thesis. A final report with the study results will be presented to the ARJEL, especially the final screening model.
Trial registration number NCT02415296.
- Online gambling
- problem gambling
- latent class model
- predictive model.
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Contributors BP conducted the literature research on statistical methods and will conduct the statistical analysis. J-BH provided methodological advice, designed the statistical analysis plan and will supervise the statistical analysis. J-MC and GC-B selected the parameters to be included in the study. J-MC designed and was responsible of the questionnaire issued in stage 2 to ARJEL gamblers. JC provided Internet gambling and prevention advice. MG-B is the principal investigator and provides the study’s medical supervision. GC-B designed the study, wrote the protocol and is in charge of project management. BP wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding This research has benefited from the joint assistance of the French National Health Insurance Fund for Employees (CNAMTS), the French Directorate General of Health, the ARC Foundation for Cancer Research, the French National Cancer Institute (INCA), the French National Institute for Prevention and Education in Health (INPES), the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the French Inter-Departmental Agency for the Fight against Drugs and Addictive Behaviors (Mildeca) and the French Social Security Scheme for Liberal Professionals (RSI) as part of the ‘Primary Prevention’ call for proposals issued by the French Institute for Public Health Research (IReSP) and INCA in 2013.
Competing interests MG-B, JC and GC-B declare that the University Hospital of Nantes has received gambling industry (FDJ and PMU) funding in the form of a sponsorship which supports the gambling section of the BALANCED Unit (the Reference Centre for Excessive Gambling). Scientific independence towards gambling industry operators is warranted. There were no publishing constraints. BP, J-MC and J-BH declare that they have no conflict of interest
Patient consent For stage 2 and 3, participants were informed about the research. For stage 3, they gave their written informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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